Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Road Again

Hey Y'all,
To say I am lucky with the ridiculous number of travel opportunities life hands me is a real understatement. For example, last month, you might recall, I flew to Portland, Maine, then headed to an island off the coast to knit for a week. This month-- just the other day actually-- I flew to Portland, Oregon and then headed over to Astoria, which is on the coast, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, and where Lewis and Clark finished up their little walk.

There are so many things I love about traveling in general and Oregon in particular. Yarn, it will probably not surprise you to hear, is top on the list for both. Now Hill Country Weavers will always be my home base yarn haven. And I probably get 97% of my stash there. But when I'm on the road, I like to at least visit other knit shops, and sometimes pick up a little something to add to the stash, my textile version of a postcard.

A couple of years ago, I visited the Yarn Garden on Hawthorne in Portland and that is a truly lovely shop. This time around, I decided to see what else was out there. So after landing in Portland and before heading to Astoria, I popped by Knit-Purl in downtown Portland right after they opened at noon on a Sunday.

Talk about gangbusters! I was there about a half hour and in that short stretch the store went from having just a couple of customers wandering around to feeling more like some internationally famous yarn fest. I mean, it was more crowded than church! I met a new-ish knitter, Tom, who is most enthusiastic about his new endeavor. He's also already designing his own stuff (see the pic of him wearing the blue scarf.) Christine, who was womanning the register, was wearing this gorgeous vest she made. Now is that Fair Isle or Intarsia? I still have a hard time telling those apart sometimes.

Knit-Purl Owner Darcy appeared at some point (she'd been working in the back) and I chatted with her a bit about a line of yarn the store puts out-- it's alpaca and I got a skein of this gorgeous peacock blue. I also decided that I'm going to make Suzanne start an alpaca farm in South America and let me run it so we can have our own HCW line of yarn.

My knitting adventure in Portland completed, I headed on to Astoria, where I currently am sitting in the Blue Scorcher Bakery, my favorite bakery in the world. I am drinking far more coffee than I should. I am eating a different pastry every hour or so (pacing myself). And I am happy to report that my friend Shannon, whom I met here and see just once a year, showed up this morning. She didn't even know I was coming, but this is her hangout and, yes, she brought her knitting. So we sat and knitted and caught up.

Shannon has a friend Margaret, whom I met years ago at the Astoria Farmers' Market, and Margaret dyes yarn and sells it. So now I'm trying to track her down to find her latest batch and run my fingers over her inventory. I can't wait.

I am not kidding when I say that, on a pretty regular basis, I fantasize about just planning a long series of trips that are centered around knitting. Not just finding knit shops once I land, but actually looking at a map and saying, "I think I'll go to Uruguay and hang out with the Manos folks!" or "Off to Wales to try my hand at shepherding."

Would very much love to hear about your yarn-related travel stories so please post 'em. And I'll work on a pun about putting the "ravel" in "travel."

Here are some more pics from my current adventure:

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